Thursday, August 4, 2016

Teaching Foreshadowing in the Secondary English Classroom

One of my favorite things to teach is foreshadowing. I think I love it so much because the kids love it and really get into it every year.

I always start teaching foreshadowing the same way. I ask them what happens in a scary movie when someone says, "I'll be right back." Because so many kids are into those types of movies they always know the answer!

I talk to the students about how to look for clues. I let them know that they need to look for anything that seems a little off, out of place, out of the blue, warnings, or ominous weather. 

I then show students a foreshadowing prezi that gives more examples of foreshadowing in film. The kids really get a kick out of seeing examples from movies that they know and realizing that they there are foreshadowing clues hidden within. 

I then like to move on to finding foreshadowing in songs. I like to start my students out with songs because they feel such a sense of accomplishment in finding the information in short passages that they feel ready to take on a bigger challenge. Every single year my kids' favorite song that I use to teach foreshadowing is this song called "Buenos Tardes, Amigo" by Ween. It is a really weird song and the kids mock it initially, but then they REALLY get into it and BEG to hear it again. 

Once we finish with songs, the students are ready to move on to more difficult pieces of literature. I have the students break out into their differentiated learning groups and give each of the groups a different reading based on their level

Lower Level: "Death by Scrabble" and/or "A Secret for Two"
Mid Level: "The Landlady"
High Level: "The Veldt"

I assign each level different amounts of clues they must find. The highest level has to find the least amount of clues because they have such a long reading and deeper hidden clues. The lower level needs to find the most clues because they have a short passage and clues that smack you right in the face! The kids LOVE these stories and really work hard charting the stories. 

The last activity that I do with my kids before giving the students the test, is to show two different Twilight Zone episodes and having students chart the foreshadowing found within. 

“Time Enough at Last”

Foreshadowing Clues:
1.     The narration as Bemis is called into his boss’ office
2.     His reading has gotten him in trouble previously (Boss, wife, customers)
3.     His glasses fall off as Helen rips up the novel
4.     Newspaper headline about bomb being capable of total destruction
5.     Continued references to time
6.     He does not seem to care for his glasses very often
7.     He knocks the counter over breaking the glass before he finds the gun.
8.     “If there were only something to do!”
9.     “All the books I’ll EVER need”
10.    He starts planning his life in books
11.    He mentions that he has ALL the time in the world

Bonus: You can also discuss irony with his glasses breaking at the end and his having ALL the time in the world.
“Eye of the Beholder” (LOOOOOOOOVE this one)

Foreshadowing Clues:
  1. Why doesn’t the audience see the actor’s faces? They are always hidden or in shadows and silhouettes.
  2. Red Herring foreshadowing with all the references to how “Ugly” the patient is makes us think she will be odd looking to “us”
  3.  Narrator, “Don’t be surprised by what you are about to see.”
  4. We know the society is odd because they mention:
    She wants to “fit” in with society 
    They don’t want to spend more money to help
    They won’t let her go outside
    They have segregated off people of her ”kind” like a ghetto or concentration camp
    She can’t live a life around “normal” people 
    There are rules against people like her
    Ugliness is a crime
    Doctor is not compassionate and lacking bedside manner
    Doctor is supposed to be careful about saying out loud that people should be allowed to be different
    The “leader” discusses glorious conformity
    Society can terminate undesirables

Finally, I give the students a foreshadowing test that has been differentiated for my three different learning groups. The low group has to match SUPER short stories to their twist endings. The mid level group has to find clues in short passages. The high group has to chart a 2 page short story. 

The students refer to these lesson all year and many students ask if they can take copies of the stories home that they didn't get to read in their learning groups, which I think is just amazing!

Products mention in this post if you are interested:

foreshadowing           F prezi

 F in songs          


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